Being Breath ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“I recommend this book STRONGLY to women with body/image issues (and similarly, though perhaps less strongly, to men with body issues), as Cyndi’s honest journey (and the wisdom she was offered and gained along the way) can be profoundly helpful.  I’d also recommend it to anyone doing a bit of soul-searching, and to all yoga teachers (and yoga-teacher-want-to-be’s).  And yes, to those facing the challenges of an ailing parent, many parts of this book will speak to you as well.  (Just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.)”

Read the full review HERE.

Kirkus Review ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“Lee beautifully describes the yin and yang of an all-encompassing yogic lifestyle. Sprinkled throughout are short (but sweetly sage) anecdotes from the veteran yoga instructor’s classes. The author writes that her beloved mother’s firm direction on “how to be ladylike and strong at the same time” still resonates with her today and pretty much sums up the tone of this distinctively Zen autobiography.”

Read the full review HERE.

Library Journal Review ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“Despite international renown as a Buddhist-inspired yoga teacher, Lee (Yoga Body, Buddha Mind) experiences suffering just as we all do. In this heartfelt memoir, she reflects on hating her body—an all too common problem. Lee examines how her dance career, her relationship with her mother, and other life events affected her body image and in turn how it impacted her marriage. Honestly, and at times provocatively, she describes her journey toward remembering her basic goodness and finding contentment with her physical appearance. Woven into the narrative are first-person vignettes of Lee teaching her students. Her style is a beautifully accessible blend of Buddhist mindfulness practices and yoga asana. Guided by wise women (actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Christiane Northrup, self-help guru Louise Hay, various Buddhist teachers, friends, and herself), Lee remembers the truth: that we are all perfect and there is nothing wrong with us. Verdict Lee’s writing matches her teaching style: patient, melodic, and straightforward. Yoga students of all levels and abilities will learn from the simple, profound lessons in this book.”

Read the full review HERE.

Shelf Awareness ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“Though May I Be Happy‘s message embraces female empowerment, its underlying wisdom about the body as a vehicle for self-improvement and instrument for spiritual growth should appeal to readers of either gender. Discover: A wise and vulnerable memoir about freeing ourselves of outdated images of the body from a skilled writer and spiritual teacher.”

Read the full review HERE.

The Shambhala Sun ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“It’s not every day that one of the leaders of the yoga world — in this case, the founder of OM yoga — comes out as having body-image issues. A yoga teacher who hates her body. Huh? It’s about time someone was straight about this. Her willingness to do so takes guts and is an inspiration to the rest of us.”

Fitness Magazine ~ ‘May I Be Happy’

“Even yogis have fat days. In May I Be Happy, superstar instructor, Cyndi Lee, admits to hating her body, despite being at the top of an industry that gushes self-acceptance. Whether or not you do yoga, this memoir is riveting.”

Cyndi & May I Be Happy — in the Miami New Times

Cyndi & May I Be Happy — in the Miami New Times

“Yoga Guru Cyndi Lee on A Simple Way to Stop Hating Our Bodies”

Yoga Guru Cyndi Lee on a Simple Way to Stop Hating Our Bodies
Written by Hannah Sentenac | September 17, 2014

As a renowned yoga teacher and media darling, Cyndi Lee seemed like the poster child for confidence and self-acceptance. Yogis are supposed to be radiant avatars, after all. But beneath the Namastes and Lululemon she was hating her body, just like (most of) the rest of us.

This realization led her on a lengthy journey — to India, to Japan in the midst of the 2011 earthquake, to interviewing notable women, to finally embracing a loving kindness practice that shifted her perspective. She penned the book, May I Be Happy, about her experience, and she’s speaking about it at Books & Books on September 18. We spoke to Lee on self-loathing, new perspectives and how she’s accepted the wrinkles on her knees.

“The original working title for the book was I Hate My Body, which I thought kind of said it all,” says Lee. An editor eventually told her she couldn’t start with such a negative premise however, and needed to let the reader know where the journey led. Hence the final title, May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind.
“I’m a yogi, I’m a Buddhist, and one of the teachings is that you have to actually start with where you’re unhappy — where you’re suffering, and look at that as a way to transform it.”
A trip to India led her to identify some skewed priorities.

“I went to India and I was seeing all these people suffering and starving and I’m touching my stomach thinking, ‘Maybe I can lose weight on this trip,'” she recounts.
“That was when I first recognized that i was basically torturing myself all the time by criticizing my body. Some people criticize themselves in other ways but that was my way, probably because I’m a woman and because I was a dancer and a lot of other influences that are familiar to many many women. Basically it’s normal, this is normal. This is not OK, but it’s normal.”
So how did she turn things around? A practice called maitri. Loosely translated …

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From The Yogis

  • Terri Bender Morrison, Owner, Mindful Motion Yoga, OM 500 TT 2015

    "Cyndi, I feel that my teaching has shifted a bit - sequencing is more interesting and effective. As I was driving home tonight, I thought about the statements of "leaving crumbs" and "connecting the dots". While you meant that for us as direction to be better teachers, I recognize you were doing that for us as well. I believe I am just now processing some of the things you taught this summer. The subtle parts of classes escaped me, but I am getting them now. Thank you for the crumbs, for leaving plenty of space between the dots....I think I see the moon."

  • Zan Margolis, OM 200 TT , 2012

    "The more yoga I experience, the more I realize how special it is that in your teacher trainings you actually teach your yogis how to *teach*"

  • Susan Golden, Studio Owner, Maine

    "Cyndi’s sense of humor and genius teachings have made this OM 500 TT very, very stimulating every minute of the day. I’ve learned so much. I can’t wait to let it all come together and bring this to my teachings and to my life."

  • Natalie Levin, OM Yoga Graduate, OM Warrior Weekend Teacher Training Program 2003

    "I am a graduate of the OM 2003 Warrior Weekend Teacher Training Program.  I had the honor to teach at OM yoga in New York City for several years.  I have since moved to another city and was instantly offered teaching jobs based solely on the fact that I had been a teacher at Cyndi Lee’s OM yoga.  Studio owners in my current city thought so highly of Cyndi Lee’s OM yoga Teacher Training that they hired me immediately and I found and continue to find that my OM yoga Teacher Training opens door after door for me.  OM yoga (practicing there, teaching OM yoga, and learning from Cyndi Lee) helped me professionally in my own yoga-teaching career.  Even more meaningfully for me, I feel that the path of mindfulness and attention to alignment that pours through the pores of OM yoga has influenced me and helped me to soften enough to become more “myself” since I first walked into the OM yoga studio."

  • Jeri Wilson, Studio Owner, Maine

    “I’m Jeri and I’m a studio owner in Maine and I just finished my 500 hr TT with Cyndi Lee. It was an excellent experience, partly because I had been trained primarily in Anusara and I was challenged to think very differently. I found it was very helpful to come back to teach with Cyndi’s influence. She is very, very funny and she will work you and challenge you and you will feel like you have actually gained something really deep from the training.”

  • Jeanie Gasque, Yoga Teacher, South Carolina, OM 500 TT 2015

    "Cyndi's skillful guidance lead me to a greater clarity of alignment based vinyasa.  The yoga combined with the charm of Lynchburg made the Sun Session an unforgettable experience."

  • Gina Callendar, Yoga Teacher, Yonkers, NY, OM 500 TT 2015

    "Cyndi truly follows the middle path and instills that in her teachings.  She combines disciple and humor to create an engaging, thought provoking and enlightening experience.  I had the pleasure of taking her 500 hour OM Yoga Teacher Training.  I have deepened my practice, work to continue challenge myself and never want to stop learning.  I am pretty comfortable teaching, but withCyndi’s guidance I am more confident in my hands-on adjustments and clarity of instruction with my students.  Thank you Cyndi for reinforcing my foundation, challenging me as a student and becoming my teacher.  I hope to continue to learn from you for many years to come.  Namaste."

  • Erica Settino, Founder, , Karuna for Animals

    "I have been teaching yoga for 12 years and over those 12 years I have often felt burned out and at a loss for inspiration. Now that I have taken Cyndi Lee’s OM 500 Teacher Training, I feel completely different, completely inspired, and so, so blessed. If you are even considering it, you must do it."

  • Donna Levenstien, Yoga Teacher, Lake George, NY

    "I am a student of the OM 200 and OM 500 TT. I keep learning from Cyndi Lee who is just a master teacher, every class I take, every hour I’m here she says something wonderful that I can bring into my life, onto my mat, into my classes with my students. As a teacher and a student, I feel enriched every time I’m with her and in her class."

  • Ann Megyas, Actor, Yoga Teacher, , Hospice Worker

    "I’m so glad I decided to take Cyndi Lee’s 500 hr TT. It advanced my personal practice in ways that I could not imagine. There is no pose I am afraid of anymore. It’s advanced my teaching practice, it’s advanced my dharma study. It’s just been a thrilling experience the whole time."